Retail Appointment January 2019 TRAP_Jan 2019_Digital Edition - Page 10

NEWS IN REVIEW WINTER 2019 Tesco reports best Christmas in 10 years Tesco says trading in the six weeks to Christmas was "strong." The company said like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new stores, were up 2.2% at its UK supermarkets. As reported by the BBC, the figures put it ahead of the competition and are its own personal best since Christmas 2009. Sales at the wholesaler Booker, which Tesco bought in 2017, rose 6.7% over the six-week period. Tesco's figures were released along with its third-quarter trading update. This showed sales up 1.6%, 1.2% in the UK and its 12th consecutive quarter of growth. The figures beat the rest of the market in all categories: food, clothing and general merchandise. It said promotions on fresh fruit and veg- etables, as well as on lamb and beef joints, helped drive sales. Tesco's chief executive, Dave Lewis, said: "As a team, we have achieved a lot in the last 19 weeks. In the UK, we delivered sig- nificant improvements in our competitive offer and this is reflected in a very strong Christmas performance, which was ahead of the market." The Co-op has released plans to expand with 100 new store open- ings this year. The company will also give 200 of its existing stores a major makeover. Around one-third of the openings will be in London and the South East, including Soho, Chiswick, Greenwich, Ilford and Queens Park. The brand is also launching new food-to- go format stores at Baker Street station and in a railway arch at the Minories. Over 40 new stores will launch in Scotland and a further 10 in Wales during the period. Greggs launches a vegan sausage roll. The company currently sells around 1.5 million pork sausage rolls per week, and has said that the vegan version mirrors some of the classic’s famous qualities. It features 96 layers of puff pastry made with vegetable oil and a bespoke Quorn filling. “Like many food retailers we have seen increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan products,” said Roger Whiteside, the chief executive of Greggs. “We have been trying to develop a vegan version of Stuart Hookins, Co-op’s director of port- folio and development, said ”The right lo- cation and range tailored to fulfil the shopping needs of a community is a cor- nerstone of our approach, and there has been an evolution in how we choose new locations and innovate our offer. This year will be the fourth consecutive year of opening around 100 new stores, and investing in a core convenience es- tate which has seen over four years of consecutive like for like sales growth.” The retailer’s store investment programme could lead to the creation of around 1,500 jobs. our famous sausage roll for some time now. It has not been easy but our taste panel customers all love this one, so we have decided to launch it as our contribu- tion to Veganuary.” Veganuary is a growing movement that encourages people to embrace plant based diets during January. The new product will be on sale in 950 of Greggs’s 1,850 UK shops, costing £1 — which is 5p more than the traditional meat version. Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Har- greaves Lansdown stockbrokers, said: "It looks like Christmas delivered the goods for Tesco. Another increase in like-for-like sales proves it can hold its own, even as competition hots up. "These are promising results from Tesco, but time will tell if it has enough puff left to keep outrunning its rivals." Waitrose's figures showed like-for-like sales growth of 0.3%, for the seven weeks to Christmas. Morrisons reported UK in-store sales up by 0.6%. Sainsbury's, which is at- tempting to merge with Asda, said that sales had actually fallen by 1.1% in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Aldi said its sales had risen by 10% in December, although it does not give same-store sales figures. 10 Restaurant Group’s takeover of Wagamama has been approved by 60% of the shareholders. The deal is worth £559 million, and includes all of Wagamama’s debts. Shares in the Restaurant Group, which owns the Frankie and Benny’s and Gar- funkel’s chains, were down 13% at 205p once the deal had been approved. Debbie Hewitt, the chair of the Restaurant Group, said: “We have engaged exten- sively with investors throughout this trans- action and very much appreciate the time all have given. We are pleased that the majority of our shareholders have ap- proved the acquisition and the associated rights issue, and we would like to thank them for the support they have shown. We are confident the deal will create sig- nificant long-term value. The acquisition of Wagamama creates a raft of new opportunities for us to capi- talise on in the months and years ahead. We look forward to welcoming the Waga- mama team into the business post-com- pletion and thank them alongside all of our Restaurant Group colleagues for keeping focused on delivering for our cus- tomers.” January 2019